In recent weeks, Magic Johnson has taken to Twitter to voice his opinion on what the Lakers should do in free agency this summer, including going after some of the biggest names available. Since Johnson is a former minority owner of the team and his current role was unclear, that could have led to tampering charges.
Tweets like these:
Yes, it goes without saying that the Lakers (and 29 other teams) should be going after Kevin Durant this summer. But league rules prevent team employees from making public comments about another team’s players until free agency officially begins on July 1. So just to be clear on that, the Lakers issued a press release on Saturday night to clarify that Johnson is not, in fact, currently affiliated with the team in any way:
The Los Angeles Lakers have announced today that Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson has asked the team to eliminate his honorary title of Vice President, and to remove his name from the team staff directory in publications and other sources.
The change is being made in hopes of clarifying any confusion over Johnson’s involvement with or representation of the team.
“Earvin will always be a revered and beloved member of the Lakers family, but he does not have a position or role with the organization at this time,” said team spokesman John Black. “He is not an advisor or a consultant, and his opinions, comments and social media posts are solely his, and do not represent or reflect those of Lakers ownership or management. Hopefully this will eliminate any confusion over this issue in the future.”
It’s a little unfortunate that the Lakers had to publicly distance themselves from a franchise legend like Johnson, but his tweets could have gotten them into trouble. In the summer of 2014, the Raptors were fined $25,000 when Drake, who holds a global ambassador title with the team, made comments recruiting Durant at a concert in Toronto where Durant was in attendance. You can never be too careful with this stuff.